Dom Post on Afghanistan

April 8th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Many Kiwis will question whether the engagement in a conflict 13,000 kilometres away was worth such a high cost. Others will question whether now is the right time for the PRT to pull out, given the Taliban remains strong in the northeast of Bamiyan, and ’s future remains uncertain.

However, there is no denying that New Zealand was right to join the international efforts to confront al Qaeda and weaken it to the point where it no longer posed a grave threat to innocent people all around the world. The horrific September 11 attacks on the United States showed the terrorist organisation’s intent and capabilities. It had to be crippled. That mission, at least, has been accomplished.

It was also right to send the PRT to help sow the seeds of democracy and stability in Bamiyan. Likewise, now is the right time to come home.

The PRT has done everything that could have been reasonably expected of it given the harsh and dangerous conditions in which our troops were asked to operate. They have improved medical facilities, built roads and bridges and created the conditions for some semblance of what Kiwis would regard as a normal life to flourish.

Its presence has resulted in the opening of hundreds of schools, seen a rise in the number of girls getting an education and laid the foundations for improved infrastructure and a big improvement in health outcomes. Perhaps most importantly, the deployment has given the people of Bamiyan the confidence to believe they can be masters of their own destiny.

It is difficult to see what more could be achieved by the PRT remaining, and the reality is that the looming withdrawal of the rest of the international community in 2014 makes it impossible for it to stay in any case.

What annoys me most about Afghanistan is it was Labour who sent in the SAS (which was the right decision), and renewed their mission several times. Then the moment they are in Opposition they attack the Government for keeping the SAS there.

12 Responses to “Dom Post on Afghanistan”

  1. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:

    So it was only right when Labour did it? šŸ™‚

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. RRM (12,545 comments) says:

    What annoys me most about Afghanistan is the Taliban cutting body parts off innocent young girls and / or stoning them to death in the name of their sky fairy and the prophet of the sky fairy.

    But yes, NZ Labour party’s decline and decline did not end when they lost the 2008 election.

    This leftist was right behind George W. when in 2001 he said “we will find those folks that committed these terrible acts” and that everyone ele was either with the USA or against the USA i nthat. Fair call, good on him.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    For the purposes of clarity, are we all clear that the NZ and the rest of the western forces in fact lost the Afghan war to the Taliban ?

    The only question now is what form of Taliban administration takes office again in Kabul in a few months and will the country fall back into civil war.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. tvb (5,510 comments) says:

    The original mission was to remove Afghanistan as a safe haven for international terrorism. That has probably been accomplished. Teaching girls to read and building hospitals are side issues. I assume the Taliban will be in full control soon subject to the odd drone flinging a hellfire missile or two at some suspects.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. JC (1,102 comments) says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the West still keeps troops in Germany, Korea and Japan all these decades after we fought them.

    With Iraq and Afghanistan we have taken on board the words of a Vietnam era general “We should just declare victory and leave”.


    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    Alexander the Great, declared victory in Afghanistan in 330 BC, and swiftly left with as much of his army as he could muster.

    It’s been the same for everyone else since.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. metcalph (1,515 comments) says:

    The Bactrian Greeks remained in charge in Afghanistan for over two centuries after Alexander’s death, until they were wiped out by the White Huns.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Tell us more Metcalf.
    When did islam take over? My auntie worked in Kabul , I think in the 1950s..Of all the places she worked in the world , she loved Kabul the best..and she really loved the people. It wouldn’t be her kind of town now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Fentex (3,298 comments) says:

    Afghanistan’s not called the Graveyard of Empires for nothing.

    Chasing Al Qaeda and Bin Laden was a simple objective easily comprehended and not hard to support after the 9/11 attack, but thinking a democratic republic could be transplanted in the aftermath was silly and a fantasy only possible among sorely ill educated people.

    Afghanistan is not a nation and the conflict between it’s tribes is a civil war where the Taliban is synonymous with Pushtan resistance to rule from Kabaul. This is not a conflict or division our building some roads and infrastructure will have any effect on.

    The worst consequence of pretending force will win a victory is the associated destabilisation of Pakistan by compressing conflict into it’s borders and spreading anger born of violence among it’s population.

    The inane reasoning behind the folly of nation building is often that the world wants to be American if it’s bombed enough. It just ain’t so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Scott1 (1,001 comments) says:

    I suggest the God of Islam model for dealing with places like Afganistain if you get attacked.

    Examples of how this would work are
    1) Sit around in the sky telling your supporters on the ground to win some battles for you, and rain fire from the sky if they need a little assistance.
    2) Don’t put any of yourself on the ground until after pretty much everything is already done.
    3) You don’t need to explain your objective, you work in mysterious ways. But you will always be victorious (claim victory) at the end.
    4) But of course – if the opposition converts and starts praying facing your direction that will obviously help them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Afghans are fleeing in their thousands before the Americans withdraw.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. ChardonnayGuy (1,604 comments) says:

    Unfortunately, Afghanistan was a failed state before the war and no doubt will remain so afterward, despite the amount of infrastructural development contributed by New Zealand’s military presence and its benefits there. It is a seriously fragmented nation, full of ethnic and sectarian religious tensions, not only from the Taliban but also local warlords, who will also no doubt raise revenue from opium poppy growth renewal once the troops are gone. The question is, how long will it take Karzai’s government to fall without western aid and support? Given disunity and factionalism amongst his opponents, it may take several years. That said, I fear that our presence and the sacrifices made by our brave servicemen and servicewomen may have been in vain, through no fault of their own.

    As one of the contributors above wisely said, Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires- British and Soviet in the past, and now the United States in its turn.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote